The Shrinking Size of New Homes

A BBC website article ('Rabbit Hutch' Style Homes Face Curb, BBC, 20 August 2013) drew attention to the launch of a consultation in which Government said it was considering introducing basic space standards designed to curb the building in England of what have been labelled 'rabbit hutch' homes.

DCLG (the Department for Communities & Local Government) has drawn attention to the fact that England may already have some of the smallest houses in Europe, and that since the 1920's the average living space in some homes has fallen by more than one-third.

According to Riba (Royal Institution of British Architects), who have welcomed the idea of basic space standards, the size of a typical new terraced house has shrunk from more than 1,000 sq ft in the 1920's to 645 sq ft today.

It has been pointed out elsewhere that the 1960's Parker Morris Report advocated sizes and designs which could meet the aspirations people might have for future living, both in terms of household layout and the increasing use of electrical appliances, etc.

Continuing de-regulation has meant that the move away from the Parker Morris principles, which began in the 1980's, has been maintained every since.

If you are curious about the shrinking size of our homes and how the UK compares with other countries in Europe, visit the website:


In another article (The Rush to Turn Offices into Flats, BBC Website 19 December 2013) Brian Wheeler, the BBC News Politics reporter, focused on the trend to turn offices into homes (stimulated by the scrapping by Government in May 2013 of the need to get planning permission to convert offices into flats for the next rhree years).

Amongst a number of concerns being voiced, Wheeler reported that there were worries about the quality and price of the new homes being created:

'... Some argue that converted offices with no balconies or gardens may be ideal for developers looking to make a quick buck but are not suitable for families to live in.'